Sparks Lon­don Shep­herd’s Bush Em­pire

Al­most 50 years in, the genre-hop­ping duo are still on sparkling form.

Classic Rock - - Live! - David Quantick

Sparks’ ab­surd ca­reer, from their be­gin­nings as Halfnel­son in 1968, has been a pa­rade of change and sur­re­al­ism like no one else’s. From play­ing to wait­resses in Los An­ge­les to be­com­ing un­likely glam rock stars, to their Moroder disco era (a third of a cen­tury be­fore Daft Punk) and their pop 80s, Sparks are in­de­fati­ga­ble. And, at an age when most acts are mu­si­cally bank­rupt, the Mael broth­ers en­tered the 21st cen­tury mak­ing records that crossed Michael Ny­man with Larry David, mock­ing Mor­ris­sey and work­ing with Franz Fer­di­nand. Now, in 2017, with a Top 10 al­bum, Hip­popota­mus, Sparks tour Bri­tain with a full band and some very silly trousers.

The set ca­reers through their past like a drunk pin­ball, ping­ing off new songs like the God-nar­rated What The Hell Is It This Time? and the re­cent hit Edith Piaf (Said It Bet­ter Than Me). Rus­sell Mael re­mains in su­perb voice, while Ron re­mains static and em­phatic.

There are sin­gles galore – Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth, This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us and the sweet 80s pop of When I’m With You.

Af­ter an oddly mov­ing sin­ga­long to My Baby’s Tak­ing Me Home and a jaw-drop­ping The Num­ber

One Song In Heaven, the Mael broth­ers lose the masks for heart­felt speeches. Af­ter that, we’re out on a fire-spit­ting Ama­teur Hour. A bril­liant night.

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